Jan 26, 2014

Gotasheddo: A boat that you steer, always.

This is not a recipe. Perhaps just a guideline, yes? Hell, even just an exercise.

And since the beauty of this 'exercise' is in the choice of ingredients, let's talk about those  The rest is kind of up to you :)

This recipe is really just a combination of lentils/ dry beans, seasonal vegetables, some greens, herbs/flavors and, this is important, a good quality flavored oil for dressing this beauty.  Or perhaps, you can use a choice of spices, one that captures your fantasy or even just your mood-Sicilian, Calabrian, Spanish, Mediterranean, North African, Peruvian, Indian-to flavor that oil. The oil needs to be fragrant.

Some examples. Mediterranean flavors are more about herbs, eastern (Asian) are about spices and south American are about good use of chile. So think about how you intend to use the flavor. And then choose your spices and lentils, gather a bunch of seasonal veggies , cook together slowly, season and dress. Some recommendations based on my long experiments with this recipe. For a...

French knot: Split peas (these are dry, so soak it overnight and boil for 30 minutes before starting on with the rest of the recipe), sage in browned butter for drizzling. The veggies could be anything. Skip the ginger and go easy on the garlic. Maybe even skip it.

An Italian grand prix-- Green lentils, olive oil flavored with anchovies and or perhaps thyme-Rosemary? Maybe even add celery and bell peppers and eggplants :)

Peruvian : I did use Yams. yes. Olive oil with paprika.

Mexican : Olive oil flavored with poblano chile. Some cilantro at the end. Used lima beans.

Moroccon : Chickpeas (for sure), olive oil flavored with cumin, cloves and maybe a dash of Harissa

Closer home in eastern India, Gota sheddo ( translating to 'whole cooked'--really!)

You will need
2 cups of dried lentils.
(Lentils are staple of India food. The choices are plenty. Yellow, red, split pea. I typically use red or yellow)
1/3 lb of potatoes. I like to use the ones in season. In spring, I  adamantly using baby red skinned ones. Winter I move to yams, parsnips. Even russet potatoes. Less starchy would work better, I think.
3-4 carrots (you can use beets or any colored root vegetable)
2 eggplants. Small ones are better as you can leave those whole. Slightly bigger ones like Chinese or Italian or regular eggplants, you may have to cut it into 3-4 pieces. Use your best judgement.
Some greens. I like to use Kale. But Collards, spinach (use with stems, the wild ones because they are sturdy), mustard greens. All is good.
3 cloves of garlic. Whole
1 inch ginger--grated
A pinch of sugar

Heat water in a big dutch oven. Once boiling, add the potatoes. Then add the yellow lentils. When about half done, add the carrots, eggplants and green beans. Add ginger, garlic, jalapeno, salt and sugar. Mix. This one is dry. So dont add too much water. Again use your best judgement. Cook till done. Add the greens. Cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in a bowl. 
In a skillet, add oil (I used olive oil you can go with any even. Mustard oil would be great). I added a combination of red chili flakes, cumin and nigella seeds. Wait for the aroma. Take the oil off the heat. You don't want to burn the spices. Bad mistake. If that happens just  skip the spice bit and drizzle olive oil, mustard oil or avocado oil or truffle oil or whatever flavorful oil you have on hand (vegetable/canola/grape seed oil and such are not advised). Assuming you did fine with flavoring the oil with your choice of spices, just drizzle that oil on top of your dish. Serve with bread, rice, some lemon. Some wine, if the flavor directs you in that direction.

A wonderful comfort food that you can pretty much take it to any part of the world. This is one boat that you pretty much steer yourself.

Happy eating and healthy living